Marvel’s Spider-Man: The Heist proves that there’s still a lot left to mine in Insomniac’s take on the Spidey universe. The first of three story DLCs that make up a larger saga called The City That Never Sleeps dives into the dynamic between our hero and Black Cat, one of the more complex characters in Spider-Man lore. Like the base game, the writing is sharp and playful. Overall it’s an abbreviated but engaging narrative, but what truly stands out is how much more intense the action gets from a relatively minor change. While the main campaign compelled you to use your arsenal of gadgets and moves, The Heist practically demands it, bringing the action to new heights in the process.
Black Cat was sadly pushed to the side in the main adventure in favor of off-handed mentions and a rather dull collectibles system. Here, Felicia steps onto center stage. Taking place after the end of the main story, The Heist fittingly kicks off with a museum robbery gone wrong. Enter Black Cat, and for the next two hours, you’re swinging around the city in the name of helping Peter Parker’s former girlfriend. The relationship between Peter and Felicia steals all of the story moments. Their back and forth about their complicated history sheds more light on the version of Parker that Insomniac has so lovingly created. Though Peter and Felicia are the main focus, there are also several great exchanges with Mary Jane, a couple of charming conversations with Miles, and some of the best J. Jonah Jameson radio spots so far.
Subtle but meaningful
The missions themselves are mostly standard fare, and sadly, there’s no big boss fight to speak of. However, The Heist sees Spider-Man fighting a powerful crime family who happens to be better armed than even the Sable agents. Some of the big brute enemies carry massive miniguns which can wreck you in a hurry. They also have more health than the average lumbering enemy and are mostly invulnerable to your gadgets. Couple that new challenge with your standard smattering of armed foes, including many with rocket launchers, and you’ve got yourself some pretty trying battles that force you to pull out all the Spidey stops.
None of the missions reach the same heights as the most compelling missions in the campaign, but I would’ve been surprised if they had. Even so, The Heist does exactly what a good piece of DLC should. It adds to the story in subtle but meaningful ways, introduces just enough new features, and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Interestingly, The Heist loads into a new instance of New York City. All of your gadgets and suits come with you, but the map is clean and only shows DLC objectives, landmarks, and police stations. Your completion percentage starts at zero and works its way up as you complete story missions and side content just like the main game. Despite its small scope, The Heist crams most of the same sorts of activities from the main adventure. There are collectibles to find, active crimes to deal with, and new timed and combat challenges set up by everyone’s least favorite social media star, Screwball. The three new suits look cool but don’t have any added abilities. I reached 100 percent in just over three hours.
At a $10 price of admission, The Heist is definitely worth it if you enjoyed Marvel’s Spider-Man. Remember, though, this is just part one of the story. The City That Never Sleeps is a three-part saga and a tantalizing cliffhanger has me eagerly awaiting the release of part two, Turf Wars, due out next month.